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theamyrlin
In one of my classes, The Writing Process, we're going to be writing little nonfiction pieces (memoir-stuff) all semester. The first one is not due until the third week of school, but I got a jump on it since it sounded like fun. The following is a story about the time I went vigilante on this girl at playground.


"That snob!!" I thought. I was angry beyond belief, so angry that the miniature Kim shaped devil in my head had completely silenced the angel; what I was about to do seemed like not only the right thing to do, but the ONLY thing to do. I stomped across the hard Arizona playground with ferocity and purposefulness.

The girl must have done something unjust and cruel, for I was very slow to anger even as a second-grader. But looking back, I don't even remember what she said. I don't even remember her name. I do remember the feeling like it was yesterday.

I spotted her from several hundred feet away. There she was playing with her friends, acting like she was not guilty of the pain I was currently experiencing. She was going to pay. She was going to be sorry for what she did to me. If teachers didn't want to help me, I had to take the matters into my own hands.

She never even saw me coming. Her back was facing me as I made my advance. She had long, straight hair. She was wearing a cute pink shirt with coveted Guess? jeans. I knew that what I was about to do would make me feel better. It was justice.

And, maybe it was. But, after I grabbed her long hair with both hands and pulled as hard as my seven-year-old body would allow me, I knew almost instantly that it was the wrong thing to do. I say "almost instantly," because in that moment between when I first grabbed her hair and when she started crying, I felt vindicated. I was not prepared to feel what I did when she cried. Her entire body fell over backwards onto the hard grass.

I did not know what to say to the girl crying on the ground. I knew that I should say I was sorry, but I didn't know if I was. I caused her that pain on purpose. I had planned to do it. Somewhere, deep down maybe, I must have known that she would cry, that I would get into big trouble. I stood there ashamed of myself as I watched her friends help her to her feet.

I was swiftly taken into custody by one of the playground aides. What followed was my first trip to the principal's office. I sat and waited with tears in my eyes. I was going to be in big, BIG trouble. Would my parents understand? Surely, if I told them what she did to me, what I did to her would seem less bad, right? I was smart enough to know that the principal wouldn't buy my story.

My parents probably understood my situation, but that did not stop them from punishing me. I deserved to be punished. At that age, I didn't understand what consequences my actions would have. At that age, I could barely pronounce "consequences," and I certainly couldn't spell it. I knew about them, though. They teach you all about consequences at church. And we went to church every Sunday. I should have known better.

Life can teach you about consequences in a way that you are sure to remember. What I learned that day was an important lesson on the effects of my actions. It stuck with me more than any lesson I had ever learned at church. I was fortunate that the victim of my anger was relatively unhurt without any permanent damage.

Elementary school was not easy for me. Frequently, I was the victim to cruel tormenting. Always, I was the social outcast; even geeks stayed away from me. However, never again did I give in to anger and frustration to the point of physically assaulting my tormentors.


I want to improve it is much as I possibly can, so any constructive criticism or feedback would be most excellent.

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I liked it. I could almost see the scene playing out in my head. It made me think of my days on the playground battling other "groups" when they made fun of me or any of my friends. There's always those groups...

Anyhow.. don't have anything to critique. I loved it. :)

Thank you! I'm glad you liked.

*dons workshop hat*

I liked it quite a lot. The emotion was all there, and, yes, I could see it.

Things to consider:

(a) I don't think you need the second paragraph that early. It breaks up the action and doesn't really matter until you get closer to the end (maybe the principal's office?) and do some reflection.

(b) It might be good to add some more sights and sounds from the playground and the principal's office. Try to call up a bit more detail to make it more immediate.

(c) Going back to the first point, you might want to clarify where wee baby Kim was when she first starts stomping. Because in the third paragraph, you mention that she spotted the snobby girl. Does that mean wee Kim didn't see her until after the stomping? And that line:

I stomped across the hard Arizona playground with ferocity and purposefulness.

I don't think you need the stuff after playground. I know you're mad and full of purpose already from the other stuff in the paragraph and after it.

Post more stuff! This is really great, and I love the ending and how it was a church lesson learned out of church and that wee Kim recognized it as such.


Thank you so much! All of your points were helpful and specific. I will post a revised version soon. :-)

Keenai, you must be a great teacher!!

Kim, I'm not a writer, but I'm a great proofreader and happy to help with final tweaks anytime.

Aw, thanks!

Really, it's just that I've had tons of workshop experience with my fiction.

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